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The global pandemic has made us completely rethink all aspects of our society, and healthcare is one sector that is prominently under the magnifying glass. While individuals in that industry are deserving of endless praise for their life-saving efforts, it may be time for medicine to shift toward better sustainability— the two go hand in hand because our environment dramatically affects our well-being. To understand what more this industry can be doing, check out these innovative thoughts for how healthcare can become more environmentally friendly.
Across all industries, companies are making dedicated efforts to switch to green energy entirely. Many public and private healthcare institutions are following suit, but there is more that can be done. How significant is healthcare’s carbon footprint? Globally, this industry contributes nearly five percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through fossil fuel combustion.
Ways to curb these harmful emissions include entirely reimagining how we power our healthcare facilities. For starters, hospitals should consider sourcing their energy using sustainable methods such as solar or turbine power. Studies show that these power sources are more than capable of supporting the needs of nearly every business. Furthermore, some hospitals in the UK have adopted fully electric emergency response vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint.
Telemedicine is quite the craze in our post-COVID climate, as a massive number of Americans currently receive medical intervention through their computers. The change to virtual medicine has a huge, indirect effect on our plant and the integrity of its ozone layer.
As a result of telemedicine, fewer people are driving to the hospital or doctors’ office, less energy is required to accommodate more people at these facilities, and paper waste such as masks or documents are reduced significantly. Telemedicine is a relatively new addition to the medical world, but it is extremely sustainable and should become standard practice going forward.
There is a massive quantity of waste produced by hospitals every year that most people are unaware of. For starters, medical waste such as pill bottles, needles, or other healthcare items are deadly pollutants. Plastic items endanger wildlife and produce carbon as they slowly decompose. Environmentally conscious hospitals are ditching these plastic items for recyclable materials or even highly sustainable 3D printed parts and tools.
Food waste is a global problem that healthcare facilities also struggle with, thanks to the number of patients, employees, and guests who require daily nourishment. Composters and “food digestors” allow food waste to decompose instead of filling up a landfill.
The healthcare sector has always been filled with medical heroes who save the lives of others. Unfortunately, as businesses, healthcare practices must help fight climate change by converting to greener options. These tips for how healthcare can become more environmentally friendly will save lives and our precious planet.